‘Black Cats and Ballet Slippers’ Book Review

blackcatsandballetslippers ‘Black Cats and Ballet Slippers’ by Iva Valentino is perfect for the middle-grade reader. Middle school is definitely a time for introspection, but that doesn’t mean that all kids know how to handle the feelings they have, the questions they have about those feelings, or any other issues that come up. Gemma Mayfield is the perfect example of this. Between school and ballet classes, you’d think she’d be covered in terms of pre-teen stress and worry about how to get it all done, but on top of all that, her crush on Trevor Davis weighs on her mind and makes her wonder if he’ll ever return the like she feels for him. Adding to her troubles is her science partner, Joey Diggins, whom she starts to see in a new light when she thinks he’s been put under a spell by their teacher, Ms. Pruett.

The fact that Gemma thinks that Ms. Pruett is a witch (not just that she could be, but that she definitely is) hits at the core of what so many kids think about when they’re young, but are often too afraid to say, for fear they may be considered strange or crazy. But let’s be honest – who hasn’t thought about the possibility that someone might be a witch, or how you yourself would feel if you had powers? I know I have. Gemma becomes transfixed with the idea that Ms. Pruett is putting spells on Trevor and Joey, discounting the fact the entire time that people change, and maybe that’s all that’s happening. However, strange things continue to happen, and it seems only a matter of time before it’s revealed that Ms. Pruett is really a witch, casting spells on students for what Gemma believes is her perverse pleasure.

Along with best friend Izzie, Gemma comes up with a plan (albeit maybe not the best one – but who comes up with the greatest plans in middle school?), only to be foiled at almost every turn by Demonica (the girls’ nickname for mean girl Monica). Gemma’s journal entries helped move the story along, recapping all the events that lead up to the Halloween dance and everything that happens there.

There were a couple spots where continuity was an issue, in terms of names of people or events, but the overall premise of the story and the character development was well-conceived.

Complete with a black cat, a wand, and a Halloween dance that turns everything Gemma believed on its head, you’re in for a fun, worthwhile read that will fill you with pleasant, yet nerve-wracking memories of middle school life.

Additionally, feel free to check out my video review of ‘Black Cats and Ballet Slippers’:

You can find ‘Black Cats and Ballet Slippers’ by Iva Valentino on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1IBcXVs